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  1. #1

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    Hi Folks, I am sure Band in a Box has been discussed in great detail here but I am ready to make the plunge and purchase it myself now and wanted to just get some basic feedback on doing this. What "package" do I need to purchase, is it safe to download the package, are there recommendations on where to go to download it. Is there anything I need to be careful about in doing this?

    I am relatively new to playing jazz and really interested in learning jazz standards. the most important thing for me is to have a high quality backing track for the songs I want to learn and work on my solo's I have seen various BIAB "packages" with different options, bells and whistles that vary in cost from as low as 129 to several hundred dollars. It seems to me I should be good to start with the $129 package? Is this the lowest price around for the 2017 windows version of BIAB?

    Any other comments that might be helpful regarding this software would be appreciated as well. Do you find it extremely helpful in your efforts to practice, work on solo's etc?

    Thanks much!



    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
  3. #2

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    I still use the 2010 basic version and although I have been thinking of getting the most recent one every once in a while the old one still serves me well for practice purposes or to record a demo and such.
    Yes - it is very helpful. Making a backing track is easy and fast, you can adjust the tempo to your liking/ability and so on. Also rendering a WAV file and burning a CD of it to practice away from your computer is only a matter of minutes.
    Last edited by TOMMO; 10-24-2017 at 02:20 AM. Reason: typo

  4. #3

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    I have found BIAB to be the most useful of all the software packages I have bought over the years. If you want to create your own backing tracks for practising standards etc, it gives you ultimate flexibility. Probably for your usage, the most important difference between the basic "PRO" version and the more expensive versions is the number of styles available. However, you can buy the $129 version and if you really like it you can always buy extra styles later. That is one of the good things about BIAB you can upgrade at virtually anytime, although it is usually worth waiting for their annual package upgrade, to ensure you have all the latest versions for the same money.

    Probably the safest way to download is direct form PGMusic - I have never bought it anywhere else, so can't really compare other sources. However I have found that the PG customer service was very helpful on the couple of times I needed them.

  5. #4

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    I concur witht he above, BIAB is a valuable tool for learning. Every xmas the people at PGmusic have a sale offering a reduced price for the coming years version. We are not far off the Dec sale. As for package I would start with basic, as others have suggested.
    Download from PGmusic. Download the entire package to a separate external hard drive and keep that copy as a back up should disaster strike.
    When installing on you computer remember, BIAB is a rather large package. I have a 124GB SSD drive labeled C, the BIAB package I have takes about 84GB of space, so I have it on a separate drive D. It takes a few seconds longer to start up, but having a computer that works for other purposes is important.

    A good source for songs is
    index * powered by h5ai 0.27.0 (
    this provides alot of material that you have the option of changing to fit your needs as you learn how to use the program.

  6. #5

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    We just started selling BIAB again:

    Band in a Box Pro 2020 | Automatic Accompaniment Software

  7. #6

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    I'm unfamiliar with BIAB, but at a tenth the price, I find iReal Pro to be a great practice, chord chart sharing and emergency fake book. For practicing and learning I don't see the need for hyper realistic sounds or styles. Playing along with recordings and other musicians is where I get that.

    Lately, I found it really helpful in playing solo's I transcribe w/out the original recording. It allows me improve my phrasing, work on small sections, change keys..

  8. #7

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    Hi Folks,

    Wow, great information again from all of you here on the jazz forum! Thank you all so much for your input. I really like the idea of a separate harddrive for this software and will be picking up one later today. My wife pointed out that I can also use this newhard drive for all all my other music stuff as well. Tommo, the comment about being able to createa wave file and burn songs to a CD to get away from the computer was a real positive piece of information, which makes this software even more valuable. Ozoro, that is an amazing link to a source of song charts using BIAB! What do you know about where those charts came from? I would think each user would want to check how they compare to the “realbook”charts?

    PgMusic hasa very good price for the software now, I suspect it is because it won’t be long before the 2018 version is out. I don’t want to wait that long so will take advantage of the good price and start putting it to good use now. Gunksman, I do have IRealPro on my IPhone and for me it is an excellent resource especially for chord charts. I have found however in trying to use it as a backing track it is difficult for me to always be able to hear the chord changes. I am sure for a more experienced jazz musician it probably works fine.

    Thanks again everybody for your input and great recommendations, much appreciated!

    Last edited by Bluegrass Bill Ward; 10-24-2017 at 01:13 PM.

  9. #8

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    I think BIAB is one of the best soft for jazz musicians!
    I found BIAB in early 90/s.I used that time "old" Atari comp...:-)

  10. #9

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    It’s cool. I like the real instruments. I NEVER use it to practice. It’s ok, but ... ach! I use it to record me playing the changes of a song. I only use a metronome to practice improv on a tune. But it’s cool. I’ve been using it the last month. I still don’t know much beyond the basics. Like going from brushed to sticks. I have the PRO version. Dig it. Lol.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  11. #10

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    Are the Jazz tracks in the base version OK, or do you really need to buy the 3 additional audio packs?

  12. #11

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    id love a thread where people could post there BB tracks and in....readers only...THE BB jazz solos..

  13. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by woollyhair
    Are the Jazz tracks in the base version OK, or do you really need to buy the 3 additional audio packs?
    I have an older version - 2010 - and the jazz styles and tracks are definitely good enough for practicing and demo recordings. I'd guess that newer versions are even better now.

  14. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by voxss
    id love a thread where people could post there BB tracks and in....readers only...THE BB jazz solos..
    I did this using BIAB 2011 and one of the basic jazz Real Tracks, gives some idea what it sounds like.

  15. #14

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    Last edited by voxss; 10-28-2017 at 04:29 PM.

  16. #15

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  17. #16

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    Does anyone know what I need to do in BIAB to make a backing track where it holds a chord until a new chord needs to be played?

  18. #17

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    If you don’t put any chords in a bar it will just keep playing the last chord that was entered before that bar. Is that what you meant? So for 8 bars of Cm you only need to put the chord in the first bar of those 8.

    There are also chord and bar settings in ‘options’ menu or similar, where you can hold (sustain) a chord, push it (anticipate), rest some or all of the instruments, etc, etc.

  19. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by geese_com
    Does anyone know what I need to do in BIAB to make a backing track where it holds a chord until a new chord needs to be played?
    As far as I rememnber, type 3 dots after the chord. Eg:
    C7... hold the chord until new typing
    C7.. is shot (and then break
    C7. is pure break

    You can choose which of the instrument that holds, too
    right click the mouse and choose " chord menu"

  20. #19

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    I use the Hammond B3 tracks quite a lot, works well with guitar and less intrusive than the piano. One thing I do like with BIAB is that with a bit of work , you can shape the backing quite well such as having different changes for the intro, rests/holds etc.

    For example I was able to structure this backing to fit the tune exactly, this tune has a different number of bars in the intro to the main chorus, also some specific rests/holds, and I think some of the changes were slightly different too. (this used the B3 organ real tracks):

  21. #20

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    I think this is the only other organ backing example I’ve done. With Latin percussion this time:

  22. #21

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    Strikingly different..SUPERB ....organ comping and Soloing....a real Showcase..hope you do more LAtin, Whats your setup Graham...TY
    Last edited by voxss; 03-17-2018 at 11:20 PM.

  23. #22

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    Thanks vox. The guitar audio for the YouTube video was recorded straight into a Korg sound on sound recorder, I had already loaded the BIAB backing track into it as a WAV file, it then lets you overdub another track on top.

    The soundcloud clip I’m not sure, most likely I did it using GarageBand as the recording device, on my iPad. So again I imported the BIAB backing track as a WAV, then overdubbed the guitar. To record guitar into the iPad I use a Line 6 sonic port, with its own amp simulation which I always set to the ‘black-panel’ amp, which I guess is meant to be a Fender of some sort. I don’t really care about that, it’s just the most clean/warm amp model on there. (Most of the other amps are grunge metal etc. as you would expect!).

  24. #23

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    Hi all

    Not sure where to post this so here it is. Having problems with recording audio using BIAB.

    I am no tecky so have been recording straight from the guitar (archtop) into the mic input on pc windows using a quarter inch converter plug. I get a high pitched whine accompanying the recording. To my ears the quality of the recording is fairly decent enough for practice and getting feedback from so not worried about high quality stuff etc. The whine does seem to subside a little as the recording plays but is still quite audible.

    Was wondering if anyone had any ideas as to what it could be. Tried using the line out from the amp but that was even worse!!!

    Any help would be great.

    Cheers guys and girls!

  25. #24

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    Plugging either the guitar or the line output into a mic input does not give good results, the mic input is not matched correctly to either of those.

    A much better way is to plug the line output into a LINE input on the PC, it will be matched better. Hopefully there is a line input on your PC somewhere, often they are round the back so can be a bit of a pain to get at (mine is like that).

    You may also have to mess around a bit with the windows audio/soundcard properties and/or the input source options in BIAB or any other recording software you use, in order to get the line input signal to come through ok. Sometimes PCs are set to use the mic input as the default.

    If you haven't got a line input on the PC, it gets more difficult. Some sort of USB connection might be a better option, but may involve extra hardware.

    As an alternative to all that, you could use a mic on the amp speaker, and plug the mic into the mic input.

  26. #25

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    Many thanks for that I will definitely investigate the USB route on another more modern pc. This one does not have a dedicated mic input but a USB alternative. I have seen you can get various types of jack lead to USB leads and boxes and stuff! Just didn't want to end up going down the wrong road and wasting money and time.

  27. #26

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    In BIAB, can one start playback at a measure other than the first?

    I'm working on a song where the style changes at measure 57 and I don't know of any way to JUST play that measure (-to see if the style change input "took"), or START playing at that measure, much less the one before (which would be better, to see how the transition sounds).

    It seems I have to start at measure 1 and listen all the way through to that point. And if that's the way it is, well, I can live with it. But I have a "sneakin' suspicion" that there's a way to do what I want that eludes me.

  28. #27

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    Yes there is a ‘play from’ button or similar, lets you specify chorus and bar to play from. On my rather old version it’s to the right of the ‘play’ button somewhere.

  29. #28

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    IIRC you need to do is double-click on the bar in question......

  30. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ray175
    IIRC you need to do is double-click on the bar in question......
    yes that works, I just tried it.

  31. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by grahambop
    Yes there is a ‘play from’ button or similar, lets you specify chorus and bar to play from. On my rather old version it’s to the right of the ‘play’ button somewhere.
    Thanks, Graham! I'll find it. I knew this must be possible, just not how to 'command' it.

  32. #31

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    Divided my BIAB originals into four folders (A-E, F-L, M-R, S-Z) and now BIAB can't find the songs!
    When I go to the folder of "My Songs In BIAB" and click on one, I get the 'how do you want to open this file?' message. BIAB is not an option. It never shows up.
    When I go to settings and want to set BIAB as the default for opening .SGU files, I can't find ".sgu" as a type of file one can set a default for.

    I was in a chat with someone at PG Music about this but they weren't helpful. (I'm sure they know their stuff but I don't think they understood my description of the problem. I'm backward with tech, so I must take some responsibility for that.)

    Anyone here know what I'm talking about?
    If so, how to fix it? (The files were not erased---I accidentally did that once but not this time.)

  33. #32

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    Have you tried navigating to the file and opening it from the BIAB program?

  34. #33

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    Yes, Frank, I was finally able to do that. I put the folder in documents with an aaa prefix, so it's always at the top of my list of documents

    It didn't show up in BIAB when I wanted to open files. Only program files were available. Anyway, I can do it now.

    Still don't know why I can't set BIAB as the default program for opening .SGU files on my laptop. Odd. But I can live without that.

  35. #34

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    One of the things I struggle with are the settings for repeats, 1st and 2nd endings. Seems every time I try using those tools I mess up the file. Seems it's often easier for me to just cut and paste several times.

    I find when I play with a backing track I cannot focus too closely on the screen showing the chords changing. I find I have to use my ears and not my eyes. Seems like the screen change is sometimes out of sync with the audio.

    One of the things that drives me crazy is that the music will sometimes start playing while I am in the middle of editing. Not sure what causes that.

  36. #35

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    Do you guys use this to work out your own compositions, or just to work on soloing over standards?

  37. #36

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    Quote Originally Posted by patshep
    Do you guys use this to work out your own compositions, or just to work on soloing over standards?
    I've done both over the years. Great for songwriting and practicing soloing. Also, I play bass and guitar so I've used BIAB as a source of drum tracks.

    Today my songwriting process sometimes involves BIAB, but since I more recently use Reaper and EZDrummer2 I don't use BIAB very often these days. I skip the process and just go directly to recording in Reaper.

    When I do use BIAB for songwriting the process is typically, 1) I come up with chords and groove while just playing guitar, 2) I find a compatible groove in BIAB, 3) I work up lyrics and melody while singing as BIAB plays as a backing track, 4) export the drum part and load it to Reaper and then record the other parts in Reaper.

    Another way I use BIAB, I often learn bass parts from the BIAB tracks as part of learning the bass.

    I'd make a distinction between composition and songwriting. If I was to define songwriting as having a lead sheet and asking a rhythm section to play it, and composition as having a detailed score and having musicians play it note for note (and yes there is a lot of grey area between these two)... BIAB is a good tool for songwriting but I wouldn't use it for composition. For composition I'd write with instruments and use MuseScore.
    Last edited by fep; 07-19-2020 at 12:16 PM.

  38. #37

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    Quote Originally Posted by patshep
    Do you guys use this to work out your own compositions, or just to work on soloing over standards?
    I use it to work out my own things. Sometimes I use a simple backing for practice (-a loop of ii-V-I for example) but mainly it's for my own songs. Not just to work them out though, but to play my own songs and hear drums and bass as well as my guitar and voice.

  39. #38

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    Easy drum intro?
    What if you just want a couple bars of a drum beat to start things off?
    How do you get that?
    Do you have to enter chords and then mute everything but the drums? (That seems tedious, though doable.)
    I've read there is a N.C. (no chord) option in BIAB but that it doesn't actually work...